What Will It Take To Make the MLS Playoffs?

A review of the Fire's remaining 14 matches reveals an even seven games at home and seven on the road.  Six of the remaining matches are winnable games against the league's bottom dwellers while only three remain against the top tier teams. 

A bare minimum of ten wins is usually required to qualify for the MLS playoffs but due to the strength of the Western Conference this year more than that will be required to get in.  Last season Real Salt Lake needed 11 wins and 40 total points to qualify on the last weekend of the campaign.  While the Fire currently sit on 21 points they are five points behind the side currently holding the eighth and final spot.  Toronto FC is positioned in third place in the Eastern Conference but the Fire have played two less matches. 

I've taken the liberty of dusting off the crystal ball to take a stab at predicting the results of the remaining fourteen matches.  Granted, alot can change between now and October but as a result of Frank Klopas' recent wheeling and dealing Chicago has the talent on the roster to make a move.

8/18 Revolution - (win) Despite losing to them at home in SuperLiga the Fire are a better side.

8/21 at Houston (tie) Dynamo are in the midst of a terrible run of form but they're tough in the Texas heat.

8/28 at Seattle (loss) Seattle is rounding into form but they play a Champions League match against Monterrey only three days prior to this game, so the Fire has a shot.

9/4 Galaxy (tie) Another star studded DP battle that should see all the big guns on the field at one time.  Question is, will LA have a third by this match?

9/8 Toronto (win) TFC is great at home and usually horrid offensively on the road.

9/11 at Union (win) Nowak's side is getting better but still losing.

9/18 at Real Salt Lake (loss) Penalty kicks won't be needed.  Just kidding...gotta favor the champs at home but they will also be heavy into Champions League action at this point.

9/25 Seattle (win) The return match in the Ljungberg Cup should see the home side win.

9/29 at Earthquakes (win) San Jose left Toyota Park with a result earlier this season but rookie center back Ike Opara is out with an injury.

10/2 at FC Dallas (loss) Unfortunately the Brimstone Cup stays in Texas....again.

10/8 Crew (tie) Alot will depend on C-Bus fixture congestion and health.  Rogers, Marshall, and Padula are currently experiencing knee issues.  Rogers has gone under the knife. 

10/12 Wizards (win) Fire blew a 2-0 lead at home against them last season.  No excuse for not earning three points this year.

10/16 DC (win) United has been terrible and their season will be long over by this time.

10/23 at Chivas (tie) The goats are 5-10-3 right now but massive roster changes are underway.  This could easily be a win.

Assuming the results shake out as predicted by the Fire Confidential crystal ball, the Fire will finish the final fourteen matches with a 7-3-4 record.  That would put them at 12-8-10 and 46 points on the year.  Historically this has been enough to punch a ticket to the MLS playoffs.  Every point from here on out is vitally important (particularly in home matches) due to the strength out west and the Fire has to start by beating the Revolution next week. 

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  • Victor Pineda is the first "home grown" target.....
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/fire-may-sign-academy-player-pineda-pro-deal

  • No game this week but the injury report is out regardless.

    CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: MF John Thorrington (L quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Patrick Nyarko (headaches); DF Dasan Robinson (L hamstring soreness)

  • In reply to cesba:

    Is anyone else as worried about Patrick as me? To have headaches a month after a concussion is a BAD sign.

  • In reply to cesba:

    First of all,
    Did anyone notice that our very impressive keeper sean johnson had save of the week, while Jon Busch had the blunder of the week? Definitley right move by the Fire drafting Johnson.

    We will start overpowering teams when John puts more effort in practice and gets the staryting nod again. he can only prosper with the talent we have now. Hopefully John wises up and starts concentrating.

    When castillo gets to full fitness he will be a much needed force into the attack. Our midfield needs to get use to playing early quick runs. once way start putting early through balls to our forwards that are expecting them, we will be dangerous. The quicker we play and start that chemistry. just add full fitness for select players and we will make a run.

    Freddie needs to be in the attacking midfield. His ability to run at players and playmaking is a breath of fresh air. Also, pause had a phenominal game.Nice passing. He turned and switched the ball when he needed to and his aggresion was great, getting in on tackles. Props to pause, and obviously man of the match; Sean johnson. This academy player sounds good and looks to make an immediate impact as well, so watch for that.

    We have the recipe for a deep run, let's see it all come togther. Go Fire!

  • In reply to cesba:

    Thorrington makes it through full training.....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/fires-thorrington-returns-practice-field

  • In reply to cesba:

    Did he make it ok? LOL!!!!

  • Nice analysis, Guillermo.

  • With the Fire being a solid road team and a sub par home team the last few years , I would not be surprised to see them steal 2 more wins on the road in Seattle and RSL , but blow games at home to Toronto and Columbus. Yep , that game in Housotn will be tough , Fire never wins there but you would think if they ever are going to win there it has to be this year.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    It wouldn't surprise me that Chicago beats Houston because Pat Onstad is having double hernia surgery. Onstad is shooting for August 21 versus the Fire; he will be rusty. Nyarko's headaches aren't a good sign pending how serious it is. Thorrington has been out for 4 months of the season for strain quad...INCREDIBLE!!! He is very frustrating.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    What does Thorrington offer that Baggio doesn't? He's not taking Logans spot and he's not going to take Freddie's spot. Where would he play? If he plays DMid, he is not a good enough defender and loses his head to often to be efficient.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Minus the headband......

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2010/08/carr-back-18

  • The fact is for the Fire to even have a hope at the playoffs Ljungberg and Castillo are going to have to step up big time. The whole team is going to need to do the absolute best possible job and DLC is going to need to stop it with the crappy decisions.

  • Thorrington and Nyarko need to get back into the lineup, and Castillo and Ljungberg need to get their timing right (limit the offside calls). If this happens and if CJ Brown decides to feed the midfield instead of clearing every single time he touches the ball - we will make the playoffs. I am anxious to see how it plays out...

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